4 December 2012

Luke 12:25-37

"Blessed are those slaves whom the master finds alert when he comes; truly I tell you, he will fasten his belt and have them sit down to eat, and he will come and serve them." (v. 37)


Two of the great themes of advent are about waiting and preparedness and this succinct and beautiful parable speaks volumes about both.

Luke tells a tale that might sound familiar to many. It reminds us of other stories and parables Jesus told about lamps, feasts and weddings but Luke adds a stunning twist to the end. But first a question: what are the followers of Jesus to wait and be prepared for?

It seems that the early Church and even Jesus himself believed that he would return to earth at some point and that moment would have unprecedented consequences for those that chose to follow him and those that did not.

In this parable Jesus asks his followers to be ready and waiting to be dressed for the party and have their lamps lit. He seems to be comparing himself to the bridegroom, who in a ceremony very different from our wedding services, returns home at some point in the night. The servants (Jesus' followers) are asked to be on watch and be prepared for that return. So Jesus is asking his followers to be on their guard for he will return and when he does things will be different.

Often the stories of Jesus' return are followed by predictions of the wrath to come to those that refused to believe in him and awesome authority bestowed on Jesus as king and ruler of a new creation. Jesus' return is the end of history as we know it and the beginning of a new world that bursts with God's holiness and glory.

But Luke offers a different ending. In this ending the world has still changed beyond belief but this time there is no apocalyptic imagery nor is there a story of how the non-believers are cast out. Instead this story ends with the master, the bridegroom, Jesus himself, returning and finding his servants ready and waiting - and he waits upon them.

He serves them food.

Those who have served the Master faithfully whilst he was away, are served by him when he returns.

To Ponder

  • What do you think about the idea of Jesus coming again?
  • In what ways do you prepare for it?
  • How do you feel about the idea that Jesus will serve you?

Bible notes author

The Revd Simon Sutcliffe

Simon Sutcliffe is an ordained minister in the Methodist Church currently working part time as the tutor for evangelism and church growth at Queen's Foundation, Birmingham and part time as a pioneer minister with Venture FX establishing new forms of Christian community in the Chester and Stoke-on-Trent District. Simon has four children who help to keep him grounded and in a constant cycle of tidying up(!), and is deeply disappointed that none of them support Bradford City..